The London Fog has taught me that it’s OK to meet your heroes

They say never to meet your heroes — they never live up to your expectations.

Well, the Visconti London Fog limited edition has been one of my pen heroes since it was released a couple of years ago. The swirly grey and blue just did it for me in a way that the red Chiantishire, green Florentine Hills and Jade, and other limited editions just didn’t.

I read all the reviews, I drooled all over Instagram, I hesitated and missed out on chances to buy it from European dealers and I eventually resigned myself to treating it as the “one that got away”. It was to be forever the supercar on my teenage bedroom wall, out of reach.

Then I bought one. From Australia, for an absurd amount of money.

The waiting was awful. I hit ‘refresh’ on the UPS tracking screen every ten minutes for about five days, as my package went on a tour of Asia and Europe. Then it arrived, I squealed, then took a deep breath and braced myself for disappointment.

I wasn’t coming to the London Fog completely cold. I’d handled one (thanks Dave). I already owned a Homo Sapiens Steel Age model, and a resin-style Visconti (the Wall St LE).

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But Visconti nibs are each individual, QC is questionable, and the patterns of the London Fog barrel vary dramatically.

Would I win the lottery? Or would such an expensive pen, anticipated for so long, bring on an epic case of buyer’s remorse?

Actually, no. Not in the slightest.

The barrel pattern I got is awesome.

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The fit and finish, the build quality, is perfect. No rough edges, scratches, gaps or misalignments. The filled enamel clip is flawless.

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The vac filler works great.

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The nib is sublime — a true wet medium, and a good middle ground between my other Viscontis.

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The chattoyance in the solid plastics of the section, cap and filler knob is glorious.

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And, as expected, the size and weight is just right for me. My lava Homo Sapiens is one of my most comfortable pens. The London Fog has decent heft.

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I really had to close my eyes when hitting the ‘buy’ button on this pen (and not a little alcohol was involved too — Dutch courage). I was ready for that sinking feeling — perhaps I wouldn’t like the way it looked in person, it would leak, or it would simply not write well. I’ve had cheaper pens fall foul of all those problems, and ordering an out-of-production pen from Australia doesn’t bode well for the easiest returns procedure.

But for once, my luck really held. I’ve been writing with the London Fog all week and it’s been utterly, truly perfect. Of 888 examples made, I’ve got one.

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And it’s sitting pretty in my Penvelope.

Sometimes, you meet your heroes and they’re even better than you expect. And if you have a chance to get that grail pen (particularly a limited edition) — what the hell, take it.

9 thoughts on “The London Fog has taught me that it’s OK to meet your heroes

  1. This pen is beauty.

    I am always wondering how those people which have these great pens return to cheaper ones.

    I have few Watermans Experts (these were not cheap – but I think quality is lower than price), then acquired TWSBI 580AL and had smaller desire to write with Waterman. Then I got Lamy 2000 and I really does not feel much desire to use other pens. I still have some use for TWSBI as it is EF and although Lamy is too EF it is even broader than Waterman F. After that I acquired Franklin Christoph 65 Stabilis Ice pen – which I ocassionally use at home. I had eye-dropped that pen and it is not practical for daily carry :-).

    Last pen I got is TWSBI ECO which I took to test Stub nib. I love that stub nib. However I am feeling that I am coming to point where I have almost all needs covered and if I acquire anything new I will not use previous stuff….

    So these day I try to put different ink into different pens, but even on this venue I am feeling that I gravitate to my favorites inks and does not lust to write with others…

    Maybe in few years I will hand-down few pens to my sons.

    Like

    • Hey Kamil,

      Cheaper pens can still be enjoyable, but they have to be exceptional to stick in my collection now. I have given a lot of cheaper pens away to my daughter, friends and co-workers.

      The 2000 is an amazing pen, especially for the price. And FC pens feel more premium than they are. And I happen to love the Eco – it’s the cheapest pen I own that’s in regular use.

      You’re right to an extent that at some point all your needs will be covered. At that point you’ll be upgrading, and inferior pens will be left in the drawer. That’s when you start selling or giving them away.

      Hope you continue to enjoy your pens and ink!

      Thanks for the kind words on the Visconti 🙂

      Like

  2. Definitely I will continue to enjoy them :-). Your blog helps lot with that.

    Thanks to this article I am now more than ever tempted to consider Visconti. Although I find it sick to buy super expensive pen which have considerable chance to not write well from box…

    I am now at point where I am looking forward to next big thing (and for time it would be my grail pen):
    – I am definitely interested in some bigger Pelikan – everyone is raving about them
    – I am tempted by Conid Bulkfiller (I like demonstrators and this one is probably as good as it can be)
    – now Visconti

    Surprisingly I am not much tempted by anything better from Sailor.

    Like

    • I know that Visconti is famed for bad QC, but for what it’s worth, all three of mine have been perfect. My Pelikans have been more troublesome in terms of nibs.

      If you are looking at the big Pelikans, try them out first. The m8 and m10 series are very different, not just in size but nib behaviour.

      The Conids are on my list too, although the prices are high. Probably my next big purchase.

      I agree with you on Sailor. I really enjoyed my Pro Gear and so the King of Pen is the logical next step, but as a cartridge-converter it just lacks the premium package of a 149, M1000 or Visconti.

      Let me know if your temptation turns into a purchase!

      Like

  3. I think that my temptation will turn into a purchase – probably by end of this year or early next.

    Fortunately for me I do not enjoy look of MB, so one brand less to consider :-).

    From Visconti I am quite tempted by Homo sapiens Dark Age (I love look of Divine Elegance – but it is even more expensive), or Wall Street. But I will probably give preference to Homo sapiens due to lava material. I somehow liked look of new dark skeleton tubular nib, but it is steel and on such expensive pen I will probably go with Palladium one.

    Only other contenders are Conid and maybe something like Pelikan M805 Ocean Swirl.

    Like

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